BOYERTOWN, Pa. - Disappointment and anger from many Boyertown residents.
"I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it," said one resident after seeing the vandalism to a locally made mural promoting racial equality.
Eastern Berks Regional police say late Tuesday or early Wednesday vandals splattered black paint across a 2-story mural called "Boyertown is No Place for Hate." The mural is on a wall behind Rita’s Water Ice on Philadelphia Avenue near the center of town. The website of a known hate group was stencil painted on the wall. Vandals also hid their crime by spray painting over a surveillance camera pointed at the wall. It’s not the first time the mural has been vandalized.
"I was mad. I mean I grew up with this place. I grew up in town so I was really mad to see," said Cody Bradley of Boyertown.
Local artist Douglas Cartwright had to see it for himself. He says he’s hoping to use his talent to help repair the damage.
"Boyertown has a reputation for some of this "thought" perspective let’s call it. Honestly, I think it’s awful," said Cartwright.
"It was a community effort and to see it damaged like this has been really upsetting," Jillian Magee, main street manager for the local non-profit organization "Building a Better Boyertown." The group helped install the original mural 12 years ago at a cost of about $8,000. It has started a fundraising effort to fix the mural. Money raised will go to paying an artist, rent scaffolding and buying supplies. Any additional money will go towards painting more murals in town with the same kind of anti-hate message.
"We’re not this. We are a place that we do not condone hate so we’re trying to say it as loud and proud as we can," added Magee.
Police are now searching for surveillance video including looking at doorbell video footage from around the area. So far police have made no arrests.
If you know any information about the incident you can call Eastern Berks Regional Police at 610-369-3050.
A link to the organizations fundraising campaign can be found, here